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Melissa Schmalenberger, Published November 26 2011

Ms. Simplicity: Don’t let the little stuff crowd out the big stuff

“You’ve got to think about the big things while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction”

– Alvin Toffler


Too often I am so caught up in the small everyday things in life that I forget about the big things.

Have you ever heard or seen that science experiment where they have sand, pea gravel, pebbles and larger rocks, and they ask you to put them all in one container and make them fit? You realize early on that you have to deal with the big things first and then work your way down to the sand.

If you find the room for the big, the small will naturally fit in and everything will work out. But if you forget about the big things and only focus on the small, naturally there is no room for the big things.

So what would some of the big things in life be?

E Marriage

E Children

E Occupation

E Home

And what would be some of the smaller thing in life?

E Grocery shopping

E Watching your favorite show on TV

E Returning the movies to the movie store

E Mowing the lawn

But if you nurtured and took care of the big things in life, could it really impact the smaller things? For example, if you had a rock star marriage and your communications was great, maybe your spouse would know what needed to be purchased at the grocery store without having to be told. You have a great relationship with your kids, and they could take care of the lawn mowing. You love your occupation, and your boss thinks you do a great job so he/she doesn’t mind if you leave early to attend to your child’s activity. If you take care of the big things in life, the smaller things get taken care of. Nurture the relationships that you are in, and they will circle back and help you. For example, a good friend will take care of your dog when you are on vacation. Your house is maintained and you change your furnace filters so that your furnace doesn’t break down.

This is what I know: take care of those big things in life and the small things will be taken care of as well! Be kind and love the people you are with and your circle around you will help you get those small things done.

Melissa Schmalenberger is a professional organizer. She blogs at mssimplicity.areavoices.com.